Works of Bach and Franck

James Johnson

at the Frobenius Organ

Recorded at First Church Congregational, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Recording Engineers: Peter Mitchell, E. Brad Meyer
Design: The Philidor Company, Boston
Cover photograph: Talbot Lovering
Total playing time: 60:12


  • J. S. Bach
    • Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 547
    • Chorale Trio "Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr'," BWV 664
    • Prelude and Fugue in e minor ("Wedge"), BWV 548
  • César Franck
    • Prelude, Fugue, and Variation, opus 18
  • J. S. Bach
    • Pastorale in F Major, BWV 590
    • Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor, BWV 582

About the Performer

James Johnson is a graduate of Williams College, studied at the Conservatoire de Généve, and holds the Doctorate of Musical Arts from Yale University. His teachers have included Guy Bovet, Igor Kipnis, Charles Krigbaum, Lionel Rogg, and Montserrat Torrent. He is organist of the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard University and director of the series of concerts there, which are regularly recorded by public radio station WGBH-FM, Boston. Recipient of awards and critical acclaim for his performances and composition, he has concertized extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the South Pacific. He has recorded works of Bach on the Flentrop Organ in the Busch-Reisinger Museum (Ti-162).

The Instrument

The organ in First Church Cambridge was installed in 1972 by Theodore Frobenius and Sons of Copenhagen. Among the world's most respected builders, the firm was founded in 1909 and became one of the earliest leaders in returning organ design to classical principles serving the requirements of great repertoire.

This instrument -- the first to be built for North America by Frobenius -- contains forty stops distributed symmetrically (ten per division) over three manuals and pedal. Its tonal design provides a comprehensive palette suitable for music from all historical periods and regions.

The key action is mechanical, with white notes of ivory and sharps of ebony. The stop action is electro-pneumatic, allowing four general capture combinations and reversible toe-studs for the couplers, which are entirely independent: the organist may connect III to I1 and at the same time II to I, without III being coupled to I. This flexibility is a requirement for correct performance of French Romantic repertoire. Tuning is in equal temperament. The manual arrangement and the placement of the stop-knobs (in terraced rows on either side of the keyboards) are derived from the French style of Cavaillé-Coll. The organ, housed in casework of striking Scandinavian-modern design, is located in the left transept, facing the rear of the nave.

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